On July 2nd 2020, Inter Milan announced the signing of Achraf Hakimi. The Moroccan put pen to paper on a five-year deal with the Nerazzurri, making the switch from Zinedine Zidane’s title-winning Real Madrid.
Having impressed over the last two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, the 21-year-old appears tailor-made for Antonio Conte’s system. So, let’s consider what the transfer of Hakimi could do for Inter.
He Carries An Offensive Threat
Although Hakimi is a full-back, his adaptation of the defensive role varies from the position’s traditional responsibilities. Under Lucien Favre at Dortmund, the Moroccan was deployed as a right midfielder in a three-back formation. In turn, this gave the 21-year-old offensive freedom while also placing a defensive responsibility on him to assist Lukasz Piszczek.
Over the course of the 2019-20 campaign, Hakimi played as a right-winger on 29 occasions, according to Transfermarkt. By comparison, he only played as a full-back during the previous season. The adaptability in Hakimi’s game is likely to be one of the reasons that Conte brought him to the San Siro. Throughout his career, the Italian manager has had a preference for playing with offensive-minded wing-backs, instead of rigid full-backs.
Moreover, Hakimi’s work rate makes him the ideal option to play right wing-back for Conte. In 2019-20, the former Chelsea manager often rotated between Antonio Candreva, Danilo D’Ambrosio, and Victor Moses. Despite their qualities, they’re not as well-rounded as the Moroccan. This is evident in the statistics. After 21 appearances, D’Ambrosio, for example, scored three goals and provided no assists. Hakimi, on the other hand, had a 15-goal involvement in 33 Bundesliga matches, as per WhoScored.
Versatility and Top-Level Experience
Even though Hakimi is only 21, Inter has signed one of the world’s most sought-after full-backs of the modern era for around £36 million plus add-ons. Financially, this is a sensible investment, particularly given his scope for development.
Furthermore, his versatility could also be beneficial to Inter over the coming years. Should Conte be forced to revert to a back four, or if a new manager were to take over the Nerazzurri, then Hakimi could seamlessly slot in at full-back. On paper, this transition would be effortless for the Moroccan, while it could prove problematic for Candreva or Moses.
Contrary to his age, the 21-year-old defender already has experience on the European stage. Thus far in his career, Hakimi has featured 15 times in the Champions League, which Bayern Munich are the favourites to win at 4.33 with football betting on Space Casino in the 2019-20 season, as of July 31st. If Inter are to reassert themselves among football’s elite, then the acquisition of Hakimi is undoubtedly a statement of intent if they want to compete in the 2020-2021 season.
The Best is Yet To Come From The Moroccan
While Juventus will be tricky to displace at the top of Serie A, Hakimi will help Inter challenge the Old Lady. From an individual standpoint, the 21-year-old has the qualities required to become the best full-back of the modern era. The culmination of attacking threat and defensive awareness that he possesses makes him the perfect option for Conte’s side.